Finland: Helsinki – Capital in One Day
Today we visit the capital of Helsinki in the country also called Suomi. Despite the city is well-known and sought by tourists, don’t expect crowded streets. As the country in which it is situated, the city is calm and quite quiet.
The Finns don’t like Helsinki very much. To many Turku, a capital until 1812, is more popular. In the year Tzar Alexander I moved the administration to Helsinki. If you decide to travel to Helsinki you can easily see all the Finnish metropolis has to offer, in one day. So where one should go? And how to plan your trip?
Its favorouable to travel by train to Helsinki for the train station is one of the most important architectonic sights and it is in the city center. If you go to north-west, a couple of meters left to the main boulevard Mannerheimintie there is a modern sacral building Kamppi Chapel, known as the chapel of silence. If you decide to explore a rather small and high wooden construction you would understand that it is really possible to get from busy center to absolute silence and peace in several seconds. The place inspires to sit down and ponder. Several blcoks northwards there is another famous sacral building – underground church Temppeliaukio.
Outside it isn’t particularly interesting. Inside, however, you would be astonished about the space carved into granite. If you have time, you can continue to the north along Mannerheimintie around concert hall designed by Alvar Aalt up until the Olympic stadium inside of which are important remnants of Czech presence. In 1952, Czech runner Emil Zátopek won three gold medals.
Now its time to get back along the main boulevard and see the true heart of the city that is east to the train station. You just walk through couple of streets and you quickly reach almost empty Senate Square. On it is notorious Tuomiokirkko cathedral. It is worth your attention for its magnificent style and its location.
When you are done looking at majestic pride of Helsinki, descend to the harbor. No need to hurry, though. You stil have enough time. It is worth go two blocks back and go through Kluuvikatu Street with the famous Karl Fazer Café. Products of this brand are in every true Finnish household. Despite its high prices, the café is excellent. After you warm yourself with a cup of Finnish coffee, continue green boulevard Esplanadi to the shore.
Here direct your attention to Kauppahali, or marketplace. Unfortunately, at the time of our visit it was under renovation. It was, therefore, hard to tell what delicacies hide inside. Continue to the west around places where many cruise ships set sails. Go until you see the last of Helisinki’s sights. It is Russian orthodox cathedral Uspenski built in 1868 in the old-Russian traditional style.
In case you were quick and you managed to see everything quickly, you can travel to one of the neighborhood islands. The best option is Suomenlinna. It is an fortress island listed as seznam UNESCO’s World Heritage. If you love history, it would be best to have a whole day for the island. Next article we have a closer look at the fortress.
Text/photo: PhDr. Josef Levý
Right after we traveled through the capitals of the Baltics, we moved by ship to Finland where we paid a visit to beautiful yet bit expensive Helsinki. Still, it would be a mistake to pass it for there is lots to see.
The port city of Turku is situated about 2 hours of car ride west from Helsinki. You can take direct bus at Helsinki airport terminal or you can transfer to a small plane on intra-country flight Helsinki-Turku. The city is surrounded by diverse coastline of the Baltic Sea. The River Aura also flows into the sea. Turku was founded in the end of the 13th century. However, people lived in the area as early is in the Stone Age. Soon after the city was founded, Turku cathedral (Turun tuomiokirkko) was consecrated. The cathedral is situated in the center of the city and you can access it easily by public transportation. It is one of the most popular places there.
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